Rosie shares her gardening tips and know-how.
Lawns. It’s a good idea to mow your lawn occasionally during November to vacuum up the leaves. The grass cuttings and shredded leaves are a good mixture to go into your compost bin. It’s not too late to rake/scarify the lawn to get rid of the dead grass and moss. Now that the ground is a little wetter and softer, it’s easier to aerate/spike the lawn and then brush in some autumn lawn feed or topdressing.
Compost. Empty your compost bin and use the dark, well-rotted matter to spread on your flower beds. Fork over anything that has not decomposed and either put it back into the compost bin or into a heap out of sight – it is then easier to turn over every now and again. You also then have your bin empty and available to start refilling. Gather up the piles of leaves that have collected in the corners of your garden or on the flower beds. I allow some leaves to stay on my flowerbeds so they can act as a mulch and protect the plants from frost. Bag up those you’ve collected and, if you have room, store them somewhere out of the way, maybe behind your shed. Leaves do take rather a long time to decompose but they really are worth waiting for because they make such wonderful, rich leaf mould.
Pruning. November and February are the best times to prune roses. Here is a diagram from an old book I inherited many years ago showing the right and the wrong way to do it. I’ve discovered that many people are rather nervous about pruning roses, as I was until several years ago when I heard the results of a trial that was carried out involving a group of experts and a group of people who had no gardening experience whatsoever. They were all asked to prune roses and the following year, the roses that had been pruned by the inexperienced people grew and flowered much better than those that had been pruned by the experts. This story and the diagram helped me to have the confidence to try my hand at pruning roses and, not wishing to sound boastful, I have been rather successful. I would encourage you to try, too.
Roses also need a feed in the autumn and then again in the spring with some well-rotted manure.
Potted plants. I stand my potted plants on saucers during the summer, particularly during a dry spell, but at this time of year when we would expect more rain, take the saucers away and raise the pots off the ground either onto a brick or ceramic feet. This allows for better drainage.
Planting. Tulip bulbs need to be planted in November for spring colour and small trees and shrubs can be moved now, while the ground is still warm.